Joseph Smith “Burst Onto The Public Scene”©
(Updated 10 September 2014)
“At the time he began it, he was a twenty-four-year-old living in the wilderness of North America, with no academic training and no worldly background or skills, taking on the task of making changes in the Holy Bible, the cornerstone of Western civilization. It was an audacious undertaking, but it was something the Lord instructed the Prophet to do.”(6)Also, within three months of the Church’s organization Samuel Smith, Joseph’s brother, was serving as one of the church’s first missionaries.
If we consider only the work accomplished during this one year; or study, in their practical bearing upon human affairs, the wonderful truths revealed, we are overwhelmed with the vastness of the vistas opened up before us. It is like trying to penetrate the infinite depths of space, where the handiworks of God bear witness of His majesty, wisdom, power, and love, and where each glistening spark of light, on close examination, turns out to be a world.(10)
There is a wonderful feature connected with these Revelations–their Unity. Although neither the Prophet Joseph nor his associates had any pre-arranged plan regarding the work in which they were engaged, yet every Revelation fits into its place perfectly, as does each separate stone which the skillful architect lays in the walls of his magnificent cathedral, and as we follow the development from Section to Section, we perceive that there is a plan so grand, so beautiful, and so well adapted to human needs, as to leave no room for doubt concerning its divine origin. Each Revelation, considered by itself, though full of beauty, may be but a stone detached from the building to which it belongs, but seen as a part of the entire structure, it speaks with convincing eloquence of its wisdom, power, and love of the Divine Builder of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ.(11)
The practice of canonization is inherent in the human mind. Men of the past grow into giants, history takes the form of the good old days, all deeds become heroic. This has advantage, it is inspiring; but it is not human experience, and it is not true. There is too much written of what men think of Lincoln in proportion to that which tells [us instead] what he was. He does not need to be glorified. That but degrades. To idealize him destroys him. The greatest inspiration his life can give is in the whole truth about him. Leave him as he is. He came from the soil, he was born of the people, he lived their life. To make it all heroic, like giving him drawing-room airs, destroys the mighty strength of his example." [Calvin Coolidge, in Charles C. Johnson, Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America's Most Underrated President, (New York: Encounter Books, 2013, p. 107.] I think this same sentiment applies to Joseph Smith.
6. Kent P. Jackson, “1830: Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible,” in Joseph Smith the Prophet & Seer, edited by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Kent P. Jackson, 55. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010.